Speaking Monday night, coach Jeff Fisher said Case Keenum would remain the starter for Week 11 against the Dolphins, and Jared Goff would be the backup. Fisher had a change of heart in the 12 hours afterward and informed Goff on Tuesday morning that he’d actually be making his first NFL start this Sunday. The No. 1 overall pick in the draft was believed to still not be ready for game action, but he has to be better than what Keenum has been giving the Rams’ offense. That Keenum vs. Bryce Petty matchup last weekend wasn’t one for the faint of heart. Keenum is 31st in quarterback rating, and he’s thrown just two touchdowns to five interceptions the past three games. It’s time to sit.
It’s finally happening. Goff, who the Rams traded a boatload of draft picks for, will finally make his first NFL appearance after 10 weeks. The rookie was a legitimate train wreck in the preseason, but all can’t be blamed on him. Goff’s receivers dropped A TON of passes in exhibition play. With Keenum not threatening as a passer and defenses daring the Rams to throw the ball, the move had to be made to Goff. Fisher particularly cited Goff’s “arm talent” when making the switch. At the very least, he should be able to make Miami have to think about the pass this week. Fisher also said the Rams will be able to add plays to the game plan with Goff under center. We’ll see how it turns out, but it’s highly doubtful Goff ever becomes a fantasy streaming option at any point this season. Todd Gurley owners have something to hold onto here, hoping Goff’s insertion will open some running lanes.
In other NFC West news, the Seahawks shook up their backfield on Tuesday. Christine Michael had been seeing his snap rates decline in four-straight weeks from 73% > 50.9% > 38.3% > 15.7%. C-Mike was a complete non-factor in the Sunday night win over the Patriots, ceding all work to rookie C.J. Prosise. And with Thomas Rawls (leg) set to return this week, Michael was surprisingly cut loose Tuesday. Seattle will move forward with a Prosise-Rawls tandem backed up by rookies Alex Collins and Troymaine Pope. Michael could be claimed off waivers Wednesday, but he can safely be dropped in all season-long leagues. He’s shown in the past to be a slow learner. C-Mike was fun while he lasted earlier this season, but his play totally fell off a cliff the past 5-6 weeks.
Moving forward, it’s impossible to expect Rawls to come back and immediately take on a full workload, especially this week, if he’s even active. Prosise will be a surefire RB2 play with upside against a tough Eagles defense, though this one will be played in Seattle. Rawls needs to be immediately added wherever available. He’s already an RB3 with a clear path to RB1/2 upside if he can get back to his rookie-year form and health when he led the league in yards per carry. Prosise is going to have a weekly role with the Seahawks taking on a more pass-oriented approach.
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In Other News…
On Monday, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Rob Gronkowski suffered a punctured lung in the loss to the Seahawks. ESPN’s Adam Schefter was told otherwise, reporting Gronkowski suffered a “not overly serious” chest injury. With the Patriots being super secretive with injuries, we may never find out what exactly the injury is, but Gronkowski did have to skip a flight on Tuesday. People with punctured lungs aren’t allowed to fly because of the air pressure. This seems to at least add some validity to Rapoport’s Monday news. Gronkowski seems doubtful to play Week 11 at the 49ers. Martellus Bennett will be a lock-and-load TE1 if Gronkowski sits.
Fresh off playing just two offensive snaps in Week 10, Sammie Coates revealed he’s still dealing with a “busted hand” that includes broken index and ring fingers. It explains why he’s been such a non-factor for the past month. With Coates limited, Cobi Hamilton figures to continue to run as the Steelers’ No. 3 receiver behind Antonio Brown and Eli Rogers. Ladarius Green’s role will also expand after he just made his season debut this past Sunday. Coates can be dropped in most leagues.
Vikings kicker Blair Walsh has been all sorts of messed up since missing a chip shot field goal in the Wild Card loss to the Seahawks last winter. He’s had the yips ever since and missed four field goals and four extra points through nine games this season. The Vikings had enough after Walsh missed an extra point in the Week 10 loss to the Redskins, and they cut the former First-Team All-Pro on Tuesday. Kai Forbath was signed as Walsh’s replacement. Walsh should land on his feet in the near future, whether it’s this season or shortly after it. He has a booming leg, but needs to get his confidence back.
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Quarterback & Running Back Slants
Reading an emotional statement Tuesday, Tony Romo conceded that Dak Prescott has earned the starting job in Dallas, and Romo accepted he’ll be the backup. … Jonathan Stewart didn’t practice Tuesday. He’s been routinely resting during practice weeks. Stewart should be fine for Thursday night against the Saints. … Marcus Mariota has never thrown a red-zone interception. … Coach Todd Bowles was noncommittal when asked if Christian Hackenberg will play as a rookie. … Robert Griffin III (shoulder, I.R.) is “on pace” to return this season and could even start practicing again this week. … Tom Brady said he suffered a minor thigh injury in the Week 10 loss to the Seahawks. He should be fine for a homecoming game in San Francisco this week. Brady grew up a 49ers fan. … Coach Jay Gruden said Matt Jones may continue to be a healthy scratch on game days.
Wide Receiver & Tight End Slants
The Bears activated WR Marquess Wilson (foot) from the PUP list. With the suspension of Alshon Jeffery, Wilson could step right into a top-three or -four role at receiver. … Darrius Heyward-Bey (foot) will remain sidelined for Week 11 against the Browns. … Eric Decker (shoulder, hip, I.R.) underwent shoulder surgery on Tuesday. He had to wait until he was off crutches from the hip operation.
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